Professional Trained Naturalist/Wilderness Guides

Mark Denzer ( Owner/ Operator/ Wilderness Guide/ Naturalist )  


Mark has worked in the wilderness guide industry for over 15 years and has lead trips in Missouri Ozarks, the Rocky Mountains in Idaho, Boundary Waters in Minnesota, the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, the swamps of Louisiana and his homeland of the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. He spends his time exploring Illinois's & Missouri's rivers, their ancient history, wild-crafting, studying and practicing primitive  living skills. He has received training and worked for several outdoor wilderness programs in the country including, The Trails of Awareness Project, Wilderness Education Association , Wingate Wilderness Therapy of Utah, SUWS of Idaho, Sol-treks, Touch of Nature, Wilderness Awareness School, and Boulder Outdoor Survival School.  He has a Master’s Degree in Outdoor/ Therapeutic Recreation Management at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  He is currently a certified Wilderness First Responder under the national school of Wilderness Medical Associates. 

Tony Gerard - Naturalist/ Biologists/ Historian 


Tony is a professor of Biology at Shawnee Community College and grew canoeing the Cache river. One of his interests is the study and preservation  of retiples and amphibians locally and globally.   Additional, he has been involved in living history since the early 1980s, with a particular  interest in the eastern frontier of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Gerard has given seminars on first person interpretation at various historic sites throughout the US and Canada, including Colonial Williamsburg, Fortress Louisburg, Fort Loudon, and Fort Toulouse. He has served as a technical advisor, casting, set dressing, and location scout for numerous History Channel productions (over 30 to date) and was a core extra in the motion picture Last of the Mohicans and the recent PBS production The War That Made America.​

Joseph McCamish - Naturalist/ Tour Guide

A good sense of humor and a positive mental attitude are two skills Joe McCamish deems essential for a meaningful experience in the outdoors. Patient and compassionate with all skill levels, a trip with Joe is both fun and informative. It might include paddle instruction, bits of history and lore, some plant and animal identification, planned routes to all feature attractions, an occasional joke and maybe even a song or yodel. His southern Illinois roots date back to the 19th century, and his love of this region bolsters the belief of the ancient mound cultures- that soil containing the bones of your ancestors is sacred. Raised in its creeks and woods, he learned fishing and hunting from his grandfathers at an early age. Minimalist camping as a boy sparked a lifelong quest for foraging, fire and shelter building skills, bow craft, and plant and animal identification. Always learning and forever curious, he has found in nature an endless avenue of exploration. Joe is a self-taught naturalist, an avid reader, banjo player, and sustainable farmer with a passion for sharing his knowledge of the wonders of the Lower Cache River Wetlands and beyond.


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